A workshop on Capacity Building in Skills Development in the Pacific with Open, Flexible and Technology-Enhanced Learning was recently held at the Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort. This workshop brought together 30 professionals from eight countries (Fiji, New Zealand, Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Canada) across the Pacific. It was organized by the Centre for Flexible Learning (CFL), and Pacific Centre for Flexible & Open Learning for Development (PACFOLD) at The University of the South Pacific (USP), Commonwealth of Learning (COL), and New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). The focus of this workshop was on improving educational outcomes and building capacity to enable learning for sustainable development in the Pacific in the following three areas:
- Skills Development in Trade
- Resilience Education
- Secondary education/Youth Development
The three-day workshop involved participants reflecting upon and critically evaluating the key challenges faced by Pacific Islanders in the areas outlined above and focus on options for addressing them by coming up with workable proposals. The workshop included presentations of findings from a baseline survey of needs in the region as well as an analysis of existing report and document identifying the gaps, depth of knowledge, institutional attitudes and practices in the key areas outlined above. It also included sessions on online, flexible, technology-enhanced learning, open educational resources (OER), and a series of presentations, discussions and exploration of ideas on various issues faced by different countries. The workshop provided opportunities for networking and sharing ideas and experiences among the participants.
The Permanent Secretary (PS), Ministry of Youth and Sports, Fiji, Mr. Jone M. Nemani, officially opened the workshop. He shared some current and crucial data regarding key areas of research such as unemployment rates in the Pacific, problems faced by youths in the Pacific and various activities that have been implemented in the Pacific by governments and various NGOs to solve such issues.
Professor Konai Helu Thaman, from the Oceania Centre of Arts and Culture, The University of the South Pacific gave a keynote address titled “Learning from the past to build capacity for the future”. The workshop was officially closed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education, USP, Professor Richard Coll, with valuable insights and feedback to the groups regarding their presentations and their project proposals.